My research has focused on how ecological and evolutionary processes interact to modify populations. This interest arose during my B.Sc. in Zoology at the University of Manchester, where I examined how population growth of a focal genotype of aphid was influenced by genetic interactions with its host and competitors. During the first half of my M.Sc. at the University of Amsterdam, I explored the genetics of hybrid incompatibility in diverging populations of spider mites. Later, I investigated the role of individual traits and population demography on intraspecific competition, and how these factors may have influenced the evolution of different life-history strategies in Trinidadian guppies. Prior to starting my DPhil, I worked as a field assistant, and then field research manager, for the Guppy Project; a long-standing field experiment investigating contemporary evolutionary change in populations of fish in Trinidad.
I am interested in understanding the relationship between rapid evolutionary change and ecological dynamics. Traits may evolve rapidly in response to ecological change. Additionally, changes in the distribution of traits in a population may modify ecological processes. This process is termed eco-evolutionary dynamics, and may form complex feedback loops at multiple scales of organismal biology.
Using the well-studied system of Trinidadian guppies, I hope to understand the role of metabolic rate in particular in driving population-level eco-evolutionary dynamics. I aim to take a multidisciplinary approach, combining individual-based modelling, genetics/genomics, and field- and lab-based experiments, to better understand the interaction between population dynamics and changes in the distribution of heritable traits.
Knegt, B., Potter, T., Pearson, N., Sato, Y., Staudacher, H., Kiers, T., & Egas, M. (2016). "Detection of genetic incompatibilities in non-model systems using simple genetic markers: hybrid breakdown in the haplodiploid spider mite Tetranychus evansi." Heredity, advance online publication, 26 October 2016, doi: 10.1038/hdy.2016.103
Khudr, M. S., Potter, T., Rowntree, J., & Preziosi, R. F. (2014). "Community genetic and competition effects in a model pea aphid system." Advances in Ecological Research, Vol 50: Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics, 50, 243-265